Michael K. Lee Memorial Award Recognizing Diversity

Sponsored by: Oakland County Bar Association Diversity in the Legal Professional Committee

Established: 2015

Purpose: To celebrate diversity and to promote an awareness of the need for increased diversity in the legal profession by honoring an individual, law firm, legal service, or other law-related organization (“award recipient”) that has a demonstrated record of promoting cultural diversity in the legal community through its participation in pipeline programs and through their commitment to the tenets set forth in the mission statement of the Diversity in the Legal Profession Committee.

To recognize attorney Michael K. Lee’s commitment to the Diversity in the Legal Profession Committee’s mission statement as well as its commitment to promoting participation in the activities and governance of the OCBA of lawyers representing the full array of diversity.  Specifically, this award recognizes an award recipient who not only expresses a desire to achieve diversity in the legal profession but also actively works in various pipeline programs committed to introducing individuals with diverse backgrounds to the legal profession.

Awarded: 
 
  • Presented at the biennial Diversity in the Legal Profession Dinner
  • Additionally, the award recipient will be recognized at the OCBA Annual Meeting Awards Ceremony


Criteria: The award recipient actively participates in one or more pipeline programs and that participation exists for a minimum of three years.

Selection Process: Members of the Diversity in the Legal Profession Committee or its designee selects the award recipient.
 
How to Nominate: Letter of nomination include a description of nominee's community service supporting diversity and pipeline programming.
 

Past Recipients:


2015
John R. Nussbaumer

 


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The mission of the Diversity in the Legal Profession Committee is to increase awareness in the Oakland County legal community of the need to provide equal opportunity for all lawyers and support personnel through education and programs sponsored by the Oakland County Bar Association and in collaboration with other legal organizations, and to promote participation in the activities and governance of the Oakland County Bar Association of lawyers with all varieties of diverse backgrounds.


Examples of pipeline programs that OCBA or its members participate in are:

  • The Law Related Education Committee coordinates the Elementary Mock Trial program with second- through sixth-grade teachers. 

  • The Law Related Education Committee hosts a Constitution Day program at Pontiac middle schools.

  • Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School students participate in a program called Success on Saturday.

  • The Diversity Committee participates in a Just the Beginning Foundation (“JTBF”) event hosted by United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, which is held at Oakland University. 

  • Street Law and General Motors Corporation (Detroit) partnered together to increase student knowledge and interest in the law and legal careers.

  • The Diversity Committee participates in the College Pre-law Summer Institute, which is co-sponsored by CLEO, Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School (“Cooley Law School”), and Oakland University.

  • An attorney or law firm with a minimum of five years of community service experience. The five years may be inclusive of time spent in community service as a law student.

  • Qualifying community service experience is defined as service rendered on an independent and individual basis, membership in and/or support of an organization whose mission is to promote diversity in economic advancement opportunities and/or social equality.

  • Economic advancement opportunities include promotion of diversity in the areas of the legal profession, mentoring, career counseling, and small business development. It also includes philanthropy.

  • Social equality includes promotion of improvement in the quality of life to indigent individuals and/or advancing the concept of open housing for all people.